The World Health Organization (WHO) raised the global COVID-19 risk to its highest level today, as cases surged in three hot spots outside China, which are quickly spreading the virus to other countries, with many more—such as Nigeria and Mexico—reporting their first cases.

At a media briefing today, WHO officials said the rapid spread of the virus doesn’t meet the definition of a pandemic, which would imply every human will likely be exposed. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, the WHO’s director-general, said 24 cases in 14 countries have been exported from Italy and 97 cases in 11 countries have been exported from Iran. He said the growing number of cases and affected countries is clearly a concern.

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